Well, it finally happened. The price of crude oil touched $100 a barrel in New York Mercantile Exchange trading today. And while there is a lot of debate as to what extent cleantech and oil prices are linked, the spike will likely bring even more interest to the cleantech industry.
Now that oil has crossed into triple-digit territory, the question is whether the price of crude will continue to rise even more in 2008 or start heading downward. And the bigger question for us is, how will this affect cleantech investing? Higher prices could bring more attention to clean energy projects, and perhaps boost cleantech investing, while significantly lower prices could knock some wind out of the cleantech market’s sails. One way or another, sales of certain cleantech products, like hybrid cars, are likely to be significantly affected.
When the news hit today, we were just reading James Cramer’s predictions for 2008. Cramer thinks oil will end up much higher this year — “as much as $125 a barrel.” He puts the odds that oil will rise at two to 1. And he thinks the price of gasoline will climb to $5 a gallon.
Pundits like Warren Brown, on the other hand, think that gasoline prices will fall and will remain down throughout 2008. He doesn’t mention oil prices specifically but says the decline will be attributed to the passing of the energy bill.
The fine folks at the Oil Drum are holding a poll as to what end-of-the-year oil prices will look like. As many of their commenters point out, the prediction is hard to make. What do you think?